Brandon University Homecoming 2013 organizers Gerald Butler, left, Carla Eisler and Verna Keeler. The event, which will feature activities on and off campus, will be held Oct. 18-20.
For Gerald Butler, attending Homecoming 2013 at Brandon University is a must.
"Since graduating in 1963, I have rarely missed a homecoming," said Butler, who was born in a house right across the street from BU — or Brandon College as it was known back then. "Homecoming is a great chance to reconnect."
SCHEDULE OF EVENTSFriday, Oct. 18• Meet and GreetSUDS (campus pub) in the Knowles-Douglas Students' Union Building2 p.m.-3 p.m. • No chargeSay hello to fellow graduates who have arrived for the weekend. Alumni hosts will be there to greet you. Refreshments and food will be available in SUDS, with special alumni discounts.• Class reunions5 p.m.-7:30 p.m.Is your class celebrating a milestone anniversary? If so, your class may be planning a special reunion during this time. To find out what is being planned for your class or if you would like to assist in organizing a reunion and/or contacting fellow classmates, please contact the alumni association.• Welcome receptionGrand Salon A, Victoria Inn7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.Join together for a relaxed and informal gathering of alumni and friends from all years. Bring your memorabilia and kick off the weekend sharing memories of your college/university days. Light food and refreshments will be served.• Bobcat basketball actionHealthy Living Centre8 p.m. • $7 for alumni (tickets available at the door)Cheer on the Bobcats as they take on their cross-border rival, the Dakota College Jacks from Bottineau, N.D.Saturday, Oct. 19• Unveiling and naming of the Sports Wall of Fame plus alumni luncheonHealthy Living Centre11 a.m.-1 p.m. • $15Tour BU's newest facility, the Healthy Living Centre, and join us as we officially unveil and name the new Sports Wall of Fame in honour of alumni Mr. Dick '60, '67 and Mrs. Verda '55, '56 McDonald. Following the unveiling, reunite and enjoy a luncheon overlooking the Henry Champ Gymnasium.• Campus tour, Healthy Living Centre1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. • No chargeStroll down memory lane as you tour buildings old and new. Your guide will lead you to some special BU showcases along the way.• Bobcat basketball actionHealthy Living Centre3:30 p.m. • $7 for alumni (tickets available at the door)Round two as the Bobcats take on their cross-border rival Dakota College from Bottineau.• Homecoming dinner and awardsMain dining hallCocktail reception 5 p.m.Dinner 6 p.m. • $35Join in the celebrations as we recognize the anniversary class years and the accomplishments of the 2013 Alumni Award recipients. Guests will be seated with class members.Sunday, Oct. 20• Farewell BrunchMingling area and SUDS in the Knowles-Douglas Students' Union Building10 a.m.-12 p.m. • $15Save the best of your stories for last over a hot brunch as you bid farewell to your friends and the BU campus -- until next year!A full listing of events, accommodations and registration information is available at brandonu.ca/homecoming/.» Brandon University
His childhood home is no longer standing and his career has taken him to another city, but Butler’s ties to BU remain strong. He has served on the alumni board and the BU Foundation, and is helping organize this year’s homecoming on Oct. 18-20.
"It’s not about seeing the buildings," he said. "It’s about seeing the people.
"Getting together is always a challenge, especially nowadays. People go all over the world now for their careers. Young alumni may be starting families. But it is really important to maintain your relationship with your university family."
Open to all BU alumni, Homecoming 2013 will feature three days of events both on and off campus, with special recognition for the classes of 1943, ’53, ’63, ’73, ’83 and 1988.
This year is Butler’s 50th anniversary for his class of 1963.
"My hope is that we get 100 per cent of our class to attend, so I am encouraging everyone to make the effort," he said. "I wish we could see more of our teachers and coaches, but the passage of time has made that impossible."
BU alumni relations officer Carla Eisler expects a great turnout.
"We have RSVPs coming in from coast to coast," she said, "including at least two alumni from the class of 1943, who are celebrating 70 years since graduating from Brandon College."
Coming home to BU is an emotional experience, Butler said. "These emotions may not be uncovered for 10 or 20 years. But then, it hits you."
The people he met and the friendships that were formed during his time at Brandon College "remain a meaningful and important part of my life," he said.
"And, this seems to be a common theme when speaking with fellow classmates. Many share the same fond memories and are looking forward to reconnecting and rekindling friendships."
Among the events — including tours, class reunions, dinners and the unveiling this year of a Sports Wall of Fame in BU’s Healthy Living Centre — is the farewell brunch.
"It is an alumni favourite where we have the chance to get up and speak, impromptu, at an open microphone," Butler said. "People reflect on … the memories, the relationships. It’s a great reminder of our youth and the good times we had."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 5, 2013